When Closing the Human-Animal Divide Expands Moral Concern: The Importance of Framing

Brock Bastian*, Kimberly Costello, Steve Loughnan, Gordon Hodson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Humans and animals share many similarities. Across three studies, the authors demonstrate that the framing of these similarities has significant consequences for people's moral concern for others. Comparing animals to humans expands moral concern and reduces speciesism; however, comparing humans to animals does not appear to produce these same effects. The authors find these differences when focusing on natural tendencies to frame human-animal similarities (Study 1) and following experimental induction of framings (Studies 2 and 3). In Study 3, the authors extend their focus from other animals to marginalized human outgroups, demonstrating that human-animal similarity framing also has consequences for the extension of moral concern to other humans. The authors explain these findings by reference to previous work examining the effects of framing on judgments of similarity and self-other comparisons and discuss them in relation to the promotion of animal welfare and the expansion of moral concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • human-animal similarity
  • similarity comparison
  • speciesism
  • dehumanization
  • mind attribution
  • moral concern


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